Olympus has introduced its Easy Imaging Solution, which enables photographers to shoot, store and print digital photos without requiring a computer connection.

The first iteration of the system, which will ship in January, includes an IR-500 4Mp camera, a 40GB S-HD-100 portable hard drive and a P-S100 dye-sublimation photo printer. Olympus noted that a portable DVD burner will also ship at a future date, but no specific information is currently available.

The IR-500's main feature is a 360-degree rotating colour LCD display that enables users to snap shots from different angles. The camera also offers 2.8x optical and 30x total zoom and a minimum aperture of f2.9-f4.8

Other features include 19 scene modes and the ability to shoot video at 640-x-480, 320-x-240 or 160-x-120 pixels. It uses xD-Picture Card Media -- a 16MB card is bundled with it -- and includes the ability to sort images into up to 12 albums with a capacity of 100 pictures each.

UK pricing won’t be announced until later this year but the camera will sell for $499 (around £280) in the US.

While the IR-500 can connect to your PC or Mac via its USB 2.0 cable, the idea behind the Easy Imaging Solution is to use it with the S-HD-100 hard drive and P-S100 portable printer.

The hard-drive also offers USB 2.0 connectivity as well as a file management function that only downloads new images when connected to the IR-500 or any other compatible camera.

The printer produces 4 x 6-inch prints in approximately 84 seconds and offers a 50-sheet photo paper capacity, as well as PictBridge technology, which enables any PictBridge-compatible camera to connect to its USB 2.0 port.

The US prices are $299.99 and $199.99 (£170 and £112) for the hard-drive and printer respectively. All the products are due to begin shipping early 2005.